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Lots of love at GMC Prep banquet

Lots of love at GMC Prep banquet Keith Jump The Union-Recorder With a crowd of approximately 250 people, Georgia Military Prep School held its’ Fall/Winter sports banquet on Wednesday. It began with a meal fit for champions and football highlights from 2008. Athletic Director Gary Couch was the Master of Ceremonies and welcomed everyone to the nights festivities. “We are not the biggest, not the fastest, but I can tell you our group of athletes ARE the ‘most tenacious’. They work very hard for everything they get and achieve.” Couch went on to thank everyone from General Boylan, Col. Thornton, The Bulldog Club, and trainers. From there he also made sure to recognize the coaches, players, teachers, and then the two most often unappreciated groups; the parents of all players and participants, and the wives or husbands of all the coaches. “Without the support from the parents, our kids could not be as successful, so we thank you very much,” said Couch. “And to our spouses, we thank you for all you do to support us and our sports. We know it isn’t easy on you and we know that without you we could not be as successful. So again thank you very much.” From there the awards part of the night was started, with the outgoing football Head Coach Jon Cawley leading off. Cawley introduced all his coaches and players, after first thanking everyone for the opportunity he was afforded in his time as football coach. Cawley noted that even though his team finished with a 4-6 record, they had many injuries to deal with and everyone on the team stepped up and performed at a higher level every time they were asked. Offensive coordinator Brad Owens also noted that nine different players scored touchdowns on the year. Awards given for the team were John Jackson, who coaches noted only had one bad snap all year, as offensive lineman of the year. Donovan Smith was offensive back of the year after a stellar season. Smith finished the year as either the leader of or in the top 3 in more than five offensive categories. Coach Steve Simpson presented the first defensive award of the night to special teams player Scott Johnson. Before giving Johnson his award, Simpson told a story of a perfect onside kick in the first game of the year in which Johnson’s mother apologized. She was unaware as to how it was a good thing that he squibbed a kick like that, a story which drew a few laughs for the night. Johnson is a converted soccer player, but now an integral part of the football team. Other defensive awards were D-back or Linebacker went to J.T. Stevens and D-lineman was taken home by Heath Hudson. The award for Character/Sportsmanship went to Skylar Walker, while the highest GPA for a senior went to Nick Harper. Jamarus Walls was given the Coaches Award for his dedication to the team and team effort. The Golden Helmet/Coca-Cola Award went to junior Matthew Harrison who finished the season with 102 tackles, while sporting a 4.0 GPA. After the players were given their awards, they in turn gave recognition to their coaches including Coach Cawley and “Mom away from Home” coach Scott Seagraves. From there the Competition Cheerleading team was recognized by Coach Jennifer Spencer. The team finished no lower than second in any competition all year, until the region meet. But after only losing a few seniors, Spencer sees only bright days ahead for her team. The two Captain Award winners were Alexa Anderson and Haylee DeLoach, while Leanna Harbor was The Bulldog Award winner. The cross country team was next and Coach Stacy Stevenson, who inherited the job at the last minute, did not have all her players in attendance, but showed the enthusiasm needed when talking about her team. Female Best Runner went to Cassidy Bloodworth, while the Male Best Runner was Shane Bloodworth. Finishing the evening on the award front was the seven consecutive Region Champion Lady Bulldog softball team. Couch who is also the softball Head Coach recognized his assistants, Todd Dennard and Laurie Simpson. Couch stated that Dennard has become a very important part of his staff and his expertise has been immeasurable. Simpson who had her second child this year, has informed Couch that she will not be able to be a major part of the team in the near future. Couch went on to tell of how she has been a part of either his team, his staff, or on a team he coached for some odd 20 years. Visibly moved by the affect of their friendship and loyalty to one other, Couch presented her with an award for all she has meant to and done for GMC athletics. From there the coaches handed out awards to the 17-11 overall, 9-0 in the region, 7 straight time region champs, Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Dogs as a team hit .325, with 146 RBIs, had 222 hits and scored 169 runs. With all this offense they only allowed just short of 100 runs on the year. Senior Leadership Awards went to Chelsi Colburn, Amelia Haslam, and Mary Mason. The award for Best Outfielder went to Kaylee Fuller, who led the team in RBIs and had a .300 batting average. Couch noted how she had “hosed” a player from center field this year and the girl was out by 3 steps. The Best Infielder went to a young lady Couch touted as the best third baseman he “has ever coached”, Kaylee Johnson. Johnson, who only had 2 errors all year and was fearless at her position, also batted .397 for the year. The Coaches Award went to All-State catcher, Lauryn Dennard. “She is someone we could not do without,” said Couch when speaking of Dennard. On the year Dennard made only one error while hitting at the .316 mark. “I do not give out an MVP every year because if you do sometimes you are just giving it to be giving it, but this year it was earned and it is deserved,” said Couch. That award for MVP went to Valdosta State signee and All-State player, Page Jackson. For the year Jackson sported these stats; a .514 batting average, 25 stolen bases, an .800 on base %, and she scored 78% of the time she was on base, which is unheard of. Couch noted in one tournament that Jackson was on base 24 out of 26 attempts. At the close of the night, Couch again thanked everyone in attendance for being there and for all their support. Looking around the room, you could see proud coaches, parents, friends, siblings and athletes alike all in awe of each other. With a support system that all the Bulldogs and their faithful have built, the future looks BRIGHT for GMC, both academically and athletically. Congratulations to all the winners and to GMC as a WHOLE.